A Step-By-Step Guide

Important Documents: Get a Complimentary Single-site Evaluation Tool (SET) and Sample SET Survey by answering a few questions. Just fill out our Convenience Store Prospect Form and when you hit submit you’ll get access to these valuable document which will help in your planning.

Find a Good Site

The old axiom of Location, Location, and Location is well placed. There should be lots of traffic, but also housetops in the area so there will be business other than rush hour.

A traffic light is ideal because it allows your customer to return to traffic.

Corners are best, but on very busy roads the corner after one passes through the intersection allows the customer to reenter traffic more easily. The near corner may be blocked by traffic at the light and many customers would be deterred from pulling off for fear they cannot get back out.

One should view all of the competition along the ‘corridor’ that your customers travel. What is the competition? Are there major brands along the corridor or are there big box discounters?

What access in and out does the site offer? Is it satisfactory, good or excellent?

Interstate sites are best, just off the ramp, but not behind the fence line with limited access. Sites farther than one mile are not as desirable.

One should obtain an option on the land for at least six months. You might wish to run a survey first, but you run the risk the land will be purchased by someone else.

Run A Survey

Once you pick a site, you will need to have a survey run by a company that specializes in convenience stores with gasoline such as MPSI or New Image Marketing.

A good survey will provide you with the figures that you can take to the bank, usually plus or minus 10%. Without the sales figures that an existing store can provide, most banks will be a bit leery about making a loan.

A good survey will provide you with gallons sales per month and inside sales per month. If you are planning to offer a car wash or food service then ask for those to be included in the survey. A survey company has hundreds of convenience stores loaded into its database. They will pull the demographics of your site, compare it to similar sites and provide you with your customer’s propensity to buy. Will they purchase pizza or fried chicken? How many carwashes would you sell per day?

A high performance carwash would cost up to $165,000. The building could cost $200K. A c-store will cost between $1.2 million and $2 million not counting the land. At these levels, one would not consider a site that could not pump 150K gallons per month.

Important Documents: Get a Complimentary Single-site Evaluation Tool (SET) and Sample SET Survey by answering a few questions. Just fill out our Convenience Store Prospect Form and when you hit submit you’ll get access to these valuable document which will help in your planning.

Choose A Competent Builder

Choose a builder that specializes in convenience stores. It helps if the builder can point to stores that he has built in your town. An experienced builder will have a library of plans to stimulate your ideas. Usually, he can modify existing plans or, if necessary, can draw up the plans from scratch.

C-Store Design

C-store designs are continually evolving. Thirty years ago, stores were located in the center of a large canopy with pumps on each side and with a flat roof. Now stores are set back from the gasoline canopy with parking in front of the store. Gone are the flat roofs in favor of gables or towers, some with clocks.

How Many Dispensers Do You Need?

Major c-store installations should include at least 4 MPDs or multipumpdispensers. Four MPDs means 8 fueling positions or 8 vehicles fueling at once. Larger sites have as many as 10 or 12 MPDs.

Personally, I believe that 8 dispensers or 16 vehicles is the optimum that the cashiers are able to watch. The reason for offering so many dispensers is to handle peak load. Most people fuel going home from work as a rule so c-stores can do 50% of their business between 4 to 7 p.m.

Should I Offer Diesel Fuel?

The automobile manufacturers will have to comply with new, higher miles per gallon requirements by our government. In the short run the gap will be filled with the new clean burning diesel engines that are here now and available. The rest of the world has already ‘gone diesel’.

A Volkswagen Jetta can achieve mileage rates that compare favorably with a Prius without any of the battery concerns with higher mileage such as the expense of replacing the batteries. Whether you limit your diesel offering to car diesel or wish to have a separate offering for large trucks depends on your market and the size of your lot.

Car diesel alone should lift sales over 10%.

Choosing Your Gasoline Distributor

Choosing a gasoline distributor may be a matter of deciding upon a particular brand and then calling one or two in your area.

Hopkins Oil, Inc. is located in Raleigh, North Carolina but licensed to do business in North and South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware. In central North Carolina, Hopkins Oil, Inc. delivers all our gasoline and diesel fuel on our Fuel Depot trucks. In other areas we engage common carriers that pull from terminals in the area.

Hopkins Oil distributes EXXON, MOBIL, SHELL, and MARATHON brands. We also offer the CROWN brand. In the case of CROWN, one pays a franchise fee once per year, about $2,000, and Hopkins Oil, Inc. is allowed to pick up product from the cheapest rack (Oil Company) that day.

Hopkins Oil, Inc. distributes unbranded product from all of the major unbranded oil suppliers.

(See brand programs by clicking on each brand on the list).

Prepare A Performa Plan

One needs to prepare a Performa plan to submit to your bank for preapproval. Using the figures provided by the survey one can create a business plan that is realistic that proves to your banker that you will be successful.

Hopkins Oil can offer help in building such a computer model.